Total Drek

Or, the thoughts of several frustrated intellectuals on Sociology, Gaming, Science, Politics, Science Fiction, Religion, and whatever the hell else strikes their fancy. There is absolutely no reason why you should read this blog. None. Seriously. Go hit your back button. It's up in the upper left-hand corner of your browser... it says "Back." Don't say we didn't warn you.

Friday, February 01, 2008

And to think I've been wasting all this time in grad school.

Regular readers know that I am a huge fan of Conservapedia, the so-called trustworthy encyclopedia. I don't know how one couldn't be a fan, to be honest, given their hard-hitting articles on subjects like the homosexual agenda, liberal deceit, hate crimes and feminism. You just won't find their type of coverage from any other media source.* So, it should come as no surprise to you that recently I decided to use my passion for conservapedia to learn about my other passion: sociology! Specifically, I decided to look up sociology on conservapedia and see what they had to say. I was simply amazed by their in-depth article which taught me many things that I didn't already know. Me! A graduate student in sociology! For example, there's the definition they offer for sociology:

Sociology is a branch of Social Sciences concerned with the study of human behaviour, specifically in social relations, using the scientific method of observation. Sociology, with psychology, is at the crux of the long standing Nature vs. Nurture debate. Sociology represents nurture and psychology represents nature.

Not bad, I suppose, although I think the evolution and sociology folks may object a smidge. My real surprise, however, came during the section on "Key Theories." For example, did you know that Max Weber is a conflict theorist:

Not only that however! In addition to being a conflict theorist, Max Weber is also a symbolic interactionist!

And, not to be outdone by that German upstart Weber, it turns out that Emile Durkheim** was onboard with structural functionalism:

This is some damned impressive work, Conservapedia! I mean, symbolic interactionism wasn't developed until long after all three of these guys were dead. Yet, there Max Weber is, proudly participating in a theoretical tradition that didn't even exist yet! That doesn't even begin to address the inclusion of Weber with the conflict theorists. Seriously, he wasn't ignorant of conflict but it also wasn't the central theme of his theories. You might as well call Marx a Freudian because of that "false class consciousness" stuff. And as for Durkheim, yes, he was an inspiration for structural functionalism but he predates the theory itself. So calling him a structural functionalist is a little like referring to Galileo as a Newtonian. Still perhaps I shouldn't be expecting too much from an article that includes the sentence: "Weber argues that the first capitalists were Calvanists, though not all Calvanists becamecapitalists."

As always, Conservapedia, it has been educational.

* Primarily because they're raging lunatics.

** A helpful note for all the undergraduates who find this post while hoping to crib on their sociology paper: Emile Durkheim is a DUDE. "Emile" is not just the crazy French spelling of "Emily," okay?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the hit on them for Durkheim is a bit of a stretch and weakens a bit your correct critique of their mistreatment of Weber. (Another helpful hint for the undergrads, that’s Weber with a V sound, not with a W like the grills.)

By your logic, attaching Mead to Symbolic Interactionism is just as bad. Mind, Self, and Society was published posthumously by Mead’s students in 1934. Blumer coined the term Symbolic Interactionism three years later in 1937. However, Mead’s thinking and work clearly influenced Blumer and others, so we often lump Mead in with the Symbolic Interactionists even though he was dead by the time the term was coined.

I think the same can be said of Durkheim and the Structural Functionalists. Sure he was long dead when Parsons started working, but his ideas clearly link back to Durkheim.

I take your point about Galileo and Newton. But we don't really have a Durkheimian theory of sociology. If you're trying to lump him in somewhere, functionalism probably makes the most sense.

Final thought: Durkheim wouldn’t have called himself a functionalist, but would Marx have called himself a Marxist?

I think we often name ideas after their originators are dead.

Friday, February 01, 2008 12:22:00 PM  
Blogger Plain(s)feminist said...

I actually didn't read most of your post because I clicked the link on "feminism" and was APPALLED. O. M. G.

Post-feminism is the same as 3rd Wave feminism? Could they possibly be thinking post-modern feminism? Which isn't the same as 3rd Wave feminism, but at least it exists.

Feminism in the West began in the 1980's? Who are these people who are doing research? What? I...just...what?

Friday, February 01, 2008 6:20:00 PM  
Blogger Tabula Rasa said...

have to delurk to say "HUH?? 'psychology represents nature?!'" wonder what daniel kahneman, walter mischel, and others would have to say about that. not to mention herr doktor freud himself, with all his theories about the effects of babies witnessing their mothers having sex.

Friday, February 01, 2008 9:55:00 PM  
Blogger kristina b said...

Oh come on, Anon!

Of course you are right in the strictest sense, but the reality is that all that categorizing that Conservapedia did was not rooted in a deep knowledge and refined understanding of sociological history. It comes from the same place that "Sociology represents nurture and psychology represents nature." came from: a cursory and flawed understanding the discipline.

I can see your concern over undergrads stumbling on this site and thinking "But... I thought Durkheim was the father of Structural Functionalism," because their intro profs told them something like that. But this here is not a text book, and undergrads should not be using it to research Durkheim anyway.

My point is: I think (and correct me if I'm wrong, here) that the point of this piece is humor, not necessarily a correct critique. At least that's how I took it, and I found the whole thing hilarious!

Saturday, February 02, 2008 10:06:00 AM  

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